Brisbane Broncos winger Corey Oates says he and his teammates are using their 'embarrassing' Round 9 loss against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks as motivation heading into the State of Origin period.
In what was a rare off performance from Wayne Bennett's men, the Broncos conceded 28 points in the first half of that match before fighting back to almost claim an unlikely victory.
The two-point loss was still firmly in the front of Oates's mind after his team's comprehensive 30-6 over the Sea Eagles on Saturday night and the 21-year-old says they will need to be even better when they meet the Cowboys on Friday at 1300SMILES Stadium.
"We were embarrassed by our performance against the Sharks and that's on us," Oates said.
"We needed to prove a point against the Sea Eagles and it's always good to get back in the winner's circle. We have a big game against the Cowboys so hopefully we can back it up.
"We came out wanting to play against Manly and that's something we didn't do against Cronulla.
"I think the first half of the Sharks game we were off the pace a bit and they got easy points. We didn't want a repeat of that against Manly and the boys stood up."
Brisbane will not want to concede any easy points against the Cowboys, with the North Queenslanders seething after a one-point loss to the Storm on Saturday night.
Game one of the Suncorp Stadium double-header did not disappoint as a Cameron Smith field goal proved the difference between the two sides in what was one of the games of the season.
The Cowboys' loss sent Brisbane back to the top of the table and if recent outings are anything to go by, Friday's match promises to be a classic.
One point has separated the two sides in each of their last two meetings, with the class of Brisbane five-eighth Anthony Milford getting the Broncos over the line earlier in the year.
Oates says he relishes playing in the Queensland derby, admitting that nothing compares to the contest of the two biggest rivals currently in the NRL.
"Games against the Cowboys are unbelievable. The crowd gets behind it and we are always pumped to play them. They always lift against us," he said.
"We're ready for a good game so hopefully the crowds get out to the stadium and they are ready for us.
"Hopefully Melbourne bruised the Cowboys up a bit for us because their game before ours looked very tough."